The Facts of Donald Trump

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 11 2011 9:13 AM

The Facts of Donald Trump

This again? Really? Well, okay. Gail Collins used her space on the New York Times op-ed page to knock around Donald Trump, and the Donald wrote a response which was printed with no edits. Some people have focused on Trump's grammar; I am more interested in his lazy grasp of the facts.

His grandmother from Kenya stated, on tape, that he was born in Kenya and she was there to watch the birth. His family in Honolulu is fighting over which hospital in Hawaii he was born in - they just don't know. 

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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What's Trump referring to? Two of the oldest and flimsiest myths of birtherism!

1) In October 2008, a street preacher named Ron McRae recorded what he claimed was a call to the home , in Kenya, of Sarah Hussein Obama. I described and linked to the tape back in December 2008.

Two translators were on the line when McRae asked if the elder Obama was "present" when the president-elect was born. One of the translators says "yes." McRae contacted Berg and gave him a partial transcript of the call with a signed affidavit. He opted not to include the rest of the call, in which he asks the question more directly—"Was he born in Mombassa?"—and the translators, finally understanding him, tell him repeatedly that the president-elect was born in Hawaii.

You can listen to the tape yourself. You can also consider that Sarah Hussein Obama has done countless non-ambush interviews and never, ever said that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

2) There is no "fight" between Barack Obama's family members about where he was born. He has always stated that he was born at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children. The first and only time this was contradicted was in a 2004 article in the Rainbow Edition, the school newspaper at the Education Lab charter school in Hawaii. The article, titled "A New Face in Politics," was a short biography of then-senatorial candidate Barack Obama, anchored to a new interview with Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's half sister. The author, Bennett Guira, writes that Obama was born at Queens Hospital -- but he doesn't provide a citation for that. Neither Obama nor Soetoro-Ng ever makes the claim.

So: These are total lies, and now they've been printed without edits in the Times .

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.